Help is on the way!

Jo drinking a glass of coffee

Figuring out my future – drinking coffee doesn’t always help. Clothing by 3RD Rock. Photograph by Amit Turkenitz.

A couple of months ago I was in a state of despair. I didn’t have an ounce of freelance work, with nothing much on the horizon either. I had lots of free time and started reading novels all the time, in some kind of escapist venture. I had my routine – writing club, rock climbing, helping to run the Escape Tel Aviv events, meeting friends for coffee, and watching True Blood with Amit. But I felt lost. I wanted a direction for my career – I wanted to decide what to do with my life. These thoughts were going around in my head for a while before I spoke them out-loud. I knew nothing would change until I did that.

So I told Amit of my despair, and he asked me “Why aren’t you seeing someone who can help?” I reminded him that we’d looked for an English speaking career coach or counsellor a year ago and we hadn’t found anything. He said we could try harder this time.

I wasn’t sure if spending money on talking to a stranger was the best idea, but as Amit said, it’s an important investment – I could keep floundering in uncertainty about my career and future, or I could spend the money and try and move on.

Amit was right of course. You need to invest in your decision making process sometimes to make a change. You need someone to help you get past the things that are blocking your progress towards leading a full life.

Jo rock-climbing

Moving forward – climbing up a big cliff in Ein Fara. Clothing by 3RD Rock. Photograph by Amit Turkenitz.

Finding a direction

After just two meetings I understood what was blocking my ability to decide on my career path.

The first realisation was that as much as I had been denying it, learning Hebrew is a massive obstacle for me having a successful career in Israel. Although most Israelis speak great English, Hebrew is the working language of the country, and therefore most jobs require at least conversational Hebrew. Learning Hebrew would give me so many more job opportunities in the near future. So I’ve enrolled in the Ulpan (Hebrew language school) again, and will be going four days a week for four hours a day for the next five months.

Secondly, I understood my fear of making long-term study commitments. It’s easy to go to University when you’re straight out of school and it’s the done thing. But going back to study after 9 years in the workforce is much more challenging.

I’ve thought about studying for a PhD for over a year now, and always talked myself out of it with the thought that after three to six years, I might not enjoy my PhD topic any more or it would be of no use. But in the end, a PhD would be a means to an end that I like the sound of – being surrounded by interesting people, learning new things, and having new job opportunities, status and credibility. So I’d better get started.

Sometimes you have to take a risk, and dive into a course of years of study when it’s going to bring you to where you want to be.

What about you?

Have you seen someone for help with your career? What did you figure out?

NEXT WEEK I’ll talk about freelancing, being flooded with work, and how that can be a bad thing.


Jo Savill is a writer, science communicator and entrepreneur. Stay up to date with Jo’s writing by signing up to her newsletter
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